Failing Forward: How to Rise From the Ashes of Defeat

Our favorite kind of success stories are the ones where the hero overcomes tremendous odds and triumphs in the end. Who doesn’t love the underdog? My friend Corey Peterson has that triumph-against-the-odds kind of story, and I think a lot of the lessons he’s learned are ones that are applicable to anyone looking to change their life.

Corey failed, and he failed hard. But he failed forward; he learned from his mistakes and used them to build an empire. Today, Corey Peterson has over $95 million in multi-family cash flowing assets, and is the bestselling author of Why the Rich Get Richer.

In order to fail forward though, he had to move into a new industry that fulfilled his dreams for his family, and for him, that was investing in multi-family units.

Pivoting Into a New Industry

After barely graduating from high school, Corey started working as a used car salesman. We both went to work as financial advisors around the same time, so we experienced a lot of the same build up to the market crash in 2008. Like me, when the bottom fell out of the market, he just couldn’t stomach it anymore. His clients were losing their shirts, and he couldn’t control any of it.

It was depressing to go into work every day knowing that his clients were losing their retirement funds, and his heart went out of financial advising. And you know that when you just stop caring about your job, your boss is going to notice. So Corey was fired, and he had to go home and tell his wife that he didn’t have any way to support her.

The day Corey was fired, he sat in his office and thought about what he really wanted to do while he waited for the ax to fall. In his heart, he’d always wanted to be like Bruce, a friend of his mother’s. He had a vision of going to Hawaii whenever he felt like it. Bruce owned apartment buildings, so Corey knew he wanted to do that too.

Up until this point, Corey wasn’t a raging success, but he knew a thing or two about using failure as a springboard toward his future.

Accepting Failure As a Learning Tool

You have to be willing to fail in business to succeed. It’s like I always say to my students, “Business is a playground, and you’re only going to get knocked out of the playground.”

A failure in business isn’t the end of your business. If you get tagged on a playground, you have to sit out and wait for the game to start over. If you get tagged in a business, you only have to sit out if you mentally put yourself out of the game.

I’ve met guys who’ve gotten divorced or gotten totally wiped out in their business. But as long as they have the capacity to get up, plug themselves back into masterminds or mentorships, they can start over. The only one telling you to get out and stay out of real estate is you.

Your past is not a determining factor in your future unless you harp on it and refuse to let it go. You have to break the pattern by saying that what you were is not who you’re going to become. If you can’t let go of your failures, your bankruptcy, your divorce, or whatever’s holding you back, that is still who you are right now.

Corey was ready to change his mindset and pivot into a new industry. Unfortunately, he didn’t know a thing about real estate investing.

Finding Mentors and Accountability Partners

Luckily, Corey had been trained in sales, and he knew that relationships were going to be the key to his real estate venture. He hooked up with a mastermind, walked into the room, and sat down next to the biggest investors. He wanted to learn from the best, and he wasn’t shy about talking to the experts.

If you have a strong marriage like Corey, maybe your spouse is the one pushing you to get back in the game. Your spouse might be the one giving you the emotional support you need to bounce back from failure. But if you don’t have a supportive partner, a mastermind or mentor can fill in that role for you. Whether you have a supportive spouse or a mentor, you need someone in your corner cheering you on.

Paying for that accountability partner is okay too. When I got in the best shape of my life, it only happened because I had to cut a check every few weeks to my trainer. He was a good friend, but I knew that I would take it more seriously if I paid him. Plus I knew he would be on my case if I didn’t show up and put in 110% effort, so I felt like the money I paid him was well worth it.

The point of masterminds, mentors, and accountability partners is to learn from them, and to let them push you out of your comfort zone. They’ll help you find capital, they’ll introduce you to other investors, and they’ll help you build a network in your new industry. Relationships are the key to great real estate investing deals.

Rise From the Ashes

Every bull market comes to an end. Not every business venture is going to succeed. Don’t think that failure is going to tag you out. Learn from your mistakes, yes, but look forward. Get back in the game again and become the hero of your own story.

Be daring,

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